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Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship | ACST

High School Non-Traditional Students

 Important Note: The following information is intended as a general overview of the program for those applying, or who are considering applying, for the scholarship and is not intended to be a comprehensive compilation of program requirements. For complete information, please refer to the program’s rules and regulations.

The Arkansas Academic Challenge Program provides scholarships to Arkansas residents pursuing higher education. Funded in large part by the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery, the Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship is available to students regardless of their academic status, whether just graduating from high school, currently enrolled in college, enrolling in college for the first time, or re-enrolling after a period of time out of college.

 Traditional Recipient Info Sheet  Non-Traditional Recipient Info Sheet

 Scholarship Deadline to Apply

Annual Deadline
July 1

 Requirements

COVID-19 Alert:  Recent High School Graduates- If you are still pressing towards that needed ACT score for Arkansas Academic Challenge, we are delighted to give you additional opportunities!  The Accuplacer test is being offered remotely and can be substituted for the ACT.  We’ll also accept the July ACT test score for scholarship awarding purposes.

See Detailed Description for more information on eligibility requirements for Traditional and Non-traditional students.

 Award Amount

4 Year Institutions: $1,000 freshman year | $4,000 sophomore year | $4,000 junior year | $5,000 senior year. 2 Year Institutions: $1,000 freshman year | $3,000 sophomore year

 Who May Apply:

Traditional Students Students applying for the 2022-2023 academic year who are graduating from a public high school, a private or out-of-state high school, or homeschool must have an ACT superscore of at least a 19 (or an equivalent of a 19 composite on an equivalent test).Traditional students must enroll in at least 12 hours the first fall semester following high school graduation, and at least 15 hours each semester thereafter, to receive their funds that semester. They must complete at least 27 hours their first year, and at least 30 hours each year thereafter, with a 2.5 cumulative GPA. College Freshman who did not qualify for Academic Challenge Scholarship can apply as traditional students if they were enrolled as a full-time first-time freshman and completed 27 hours with a 2.5 GPA at the end of Spring. If they do not have 27 hours at the end of spring, they can apply as non-traditional. Non-Traditional Students are defined as students who are currently in college and did not receive Challenge, as well as adults who have completed some college but do not have a degree.

Non-traditional students with college hours will qualify with a cumulative college GPA of at least 2.5. Adults with no college can qualify for the Academic Challenge Scholarship if they have an ACT of 19 (or an equivalent score on an equivalent test) or 2.5 high school GPA if a graduate of an Arkansas public high school. Non-traditional students may enroll in as few as six hours and still receive a pro-rated scholarship amount. They must also maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 2.5, and their continuing eligibility requirement is related to their semester enrollment

 Detailed Description

General Information

Important Note: The following information is intended as a general overview of the program for those who are applying, or who are considering applying, for the scholarship and is not intended to be a comprehensive compilation of program requirements. For complete information, please refer to the program’s rules and regulations.

The Arkansas Academic Challenge Program provides scholarships to Arkansas residents pursuing higher education. Funded in large part by the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery, the Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship is available to students regardless of their academic status, whether just graduating from high school, currently enrolled in college, enrolling in college for the first time, or re-enrolling after a period of time out of college. 

Arkansas Scholarship Stacking Law

Basic Eligibility Criteria (Traditional & Non-Traditional Student)

An applicant must:

  • Be an Arkansas resident (at least 12 months prior to enrollment and a US citizen/lawful permanent resident)
  • Be accepted for admission at an approved institution of higher education in a program of study that leads to a baccalaureate degree, associate degree, qualified certificate, or a nursing school diploma
  • Not have previously earned a baccalaureate degree
  • Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) (There is no maximum income)
  • Not owe a refund on a federal or state student financial aid grant for higher education
  • Not borrowed in excess of annual federal loan limits
  • Not be incarcerated at the time of application for or during the time the applicant receives the scholarship
  • Have complied with the United States Selective Service System requirements for registration
  • Certify to be drug-free

Additional Eligibility Criteria for Traditional Students

  • Enroll full-time each fall and spring semester (12 hours the fall semester immediately following high school graduation and 15 hours each semester thereafter)
    • Students must enroll in required hours at one institution.
    • Students who complete their bachelor's degree at the end of a term may be enrolled in less than 15 hours and still be awarded a prorated award amount based on their hours
  • Students who graduate after 2010 must also meet the following:
    • Graduate from an Arkansas public high school and has a minimum composite or superscore of 19 on the ACT (On-site ACT permissible) or the equivalent score on an ACT equivalent test**
    • Applicant who has a disability identified under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20U.S.C.§ 1400 et seq., as it existed on July 1, 2009, and graduated from an Arkansas public high school, and:
      • Achieve a minimum composite or superscore of 19 on the ACT or the equivalent score on an ACT equivalent test**
    • Graduate from a private or out-of-state or home school high school and achieve a minimum composite or superscore of 19 on the ACT or the equivalent score on an ACT equivalent test**
    • Students who are enrolled as a full-time, first-time freshman but not receiving the Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship will also be considered Traditional if they meet the following:
      • Successfully completed at least 27 semester hours in the academic year immediately following high school graduation; and
      • Achieved a postsecondary grade point average of at least 2.5 on a 4.0 scale as a full-time, first-time freshman.

Additional Eligibility Criteria for Non-Traditional Students

  • Enroll full-time or part-time each fall and spring semester
    • Full-time = 15 hours
    • Part-time = at least 6 hours
  • Meet one of the following criteria:
    • If the applicant has not been enrolled in an approved institution of higher education, has either:
      • Graduated from an Arkansas public high school and achieved a 2.5 high school grade point average; or
      • Graduated from an Arkansas public high school, a private high school, an out-of-state high school, a home school high school, or obtained a high school equivalency diploma approved by the Division of Career and Technical Education and had a minimum composite score of 19 on the ACT (On-site ACT permissible) or the equivalent score on an ACT equivalent test**; or
      • If the applicant has been enrolled in an approved institution of higher education, has earned a postsecondary grade point average of at least 2.5 in completed courses.

Continuing Eligibility Criteria for Traditional Students

  • Maintain a 2.5 cumulative GPA
  • Complete 27 semester hours the first academic year and 30 semester hours each year thereafter
    • Students must be enrolled in a minimum of 6 hours to receive aid during their final semester of college. 
  • Complete all remedial courses during the first 30 hours taken after receipt of the scholarship
  • Be continuously enrolled unless student request for scholarship to be placed on hold (maximum hold of four semesters)
  • Shall enroll in courses that lead toward a baccalaureate degree after:
    • Earning an associate degree; or
    • Having less than 4 semesters of funding left
  • Will be renewed until recipient first:
    • Earns a baccalaureate degree
    • Attempts a total of 130 semester hours in 8 semesters
    • Starting with 2016 awardees, students will be renewed until the student attempts a total of 120 semester hours or receives 8 semesters of funding, whichever comes first.
    • NOTE: If the recipient’s undergraduate degree requires additional hours, ADHE, in conjunction with the student’s institution, shall determine the maximum period of time for renewal.

     

Continuing Eligibility Criteria for Non-Traditional Students

  • Maintain a 2.5 cumulative GPA (will be evaluated at the end of each spring term)
  • Complete 15 hours each consecutive semester for full-time and complete at least 6 semester hours for part-time (excluding summer terms)
  • Be continuously enrolled, unless student requests for scholarship to be placed on hold (maximum hold of 4 semesters)
  • Shall enroll in courses that lead toward a baccalaureate degree after:
    • Earns a Baccalaureate degree
    • Attempts a total of 130 semester hours in 8 semesters (full time) or up to 16 semesters (part-time)
    • Starting with 2016 awardees, students will be renewed until the student attempts a total of 120 semester hours, receives 8 semesters of funding, or the student earns a Baccalaureate degree, whichever comes first.
    • NOTE: If the recipient’s undergraduate degree requires additional hours, ADHE, in conjunction with the student’s institution, shall determine the maximum period of time for renewal.

**ACT Equivalent Scores (The tests below will not be superscored)

Test NameQualifying ScoresAdditional Information
New SAT990Test taken March 2016 or later
ASSET40Average of all subscores
COMPASS64Average of reading, writing, and algebra scores
ACCUPLACER79Average of all subscores
Next-Generation ACCUPLACER246

Average of reading, writing, and math scores (all three scores must be on one test)

 

Forfeiting Freshman Award Amount Form

  • If you are an Arkansas high school senior who has/will earn 27 college credit hours or more prior to beginning college in the Fall (after your senior year), you may be eligible to request an increase in Arkansas Academic Challenge funding from the freshmen level to the sophomore/junior level.
  • By receiving the higher level, you agree to forfeit the first semesters of eligible funding of Arkansas Academic Challenge.
  • Requests to forfeit the freshman award amount are due by July 1. 

Forfeit Freshman Award Amount Form

Graduate School Eligibility Criteria

  • Students who graduate early from undergrad have the option to use remaining semesters for graduate school.
  • Graduate school must be based in Arkansas
  • Student must be accepted and start the graduate program the semester immediately following their undergraduate graduation (summer semesters not included).
  • Students must submit their graduate acceptance letter.
  • If a student has an extenuating circumstance, they can have their scholarship held up to a year
  • Student must complete 30 hours with a 2.5+ GPA for the Fall 2020/Spring 2021 year to be awarded the scholarship for the Fall 2021/Spring 2022 year.
  • The scholarship amount for graduate school is based on the hours enrolled in. Seniors receive $2,500 a semester, if enrolled in 9 or more hours. Below is a chart of the proration.
    • Enrolled in 3-5 hours= 50%
    • Enrolled in 6-8 hours= 75%
    • Enrolled in 9+ hours=100%

Graduate School Form

 Other Information

Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship Award Amounts

Starting with the 2016-17 school year students are awarded at the following rates:


Four Year CollegeTwo Year College
Year 1$1000$1000
Year 2$4000$3000
Year 3$4000-
Year 4$5000-

 

 

 Rules and Regulations  APPLY NOW

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